In Brief: Israeli cabinet reviews new restrictions as covid-19 lockdown starts

The Israeli cabinet is to consider a raft of new restrictions to dampen the country’s sharp rise in covid-19 cases. The meeting comes just days after Israel became the first country in the world to impose a second national lockdown. As the three-week lockdown – which has seen schools and many businesses close – the cabinet will discuss further limiting attendance at workplaces, closing synagogues and placing new limitations on public prayers. New curbs on flights and public transport will also be reviewed.
But the most senior civil servant at the Finance Ministry has urged ministers not to impose a further tightening of the lockdown. In a letter to the Health Ministry director-general Chezy Levy, Keren Terner Eyal warned that new restrictions on work would have “a dramatic and painful cost for the economy that will reach into the billions of shekels in the near term, as well as dramatic economic and social ramifications over the long term”. Monday saw the number of new covid cases rise by 3,858, with the death toll standing at 1,285. Palestinian health authorities confirmed 557 new covid infections today, with the number of active cases across the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip at 12,698. The Palestinian health minister, Mai al-Kaila, said the PA’s supply of coronavirus tests would run out in three days. In one piece of positive news, the number of cases in Gaza has begun to fall.
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